"How big should congregations be? What form of church government does the Bible command? How exactly do you know when it is time for grace and when it is time for church discipline? When will the world end? What will unbelievers experience in hell? What will heaven look like? How mature in your faith should you be before you are a pastor? Do babies who die go to heaven?"
These are all great questions, and doubtlessly you and I could probably take an educated stab at many of them and come up with some pretty coherent arguments. But we must not confuse strong or highly educated opinions with Scriptural FACT.
Like it or not, God has decided that some things will remain a mystery, at least until we enter heaven's gates. R.C. Sproul has a very nice quote that summarizes this whole discussion. He says, "I find it is always dangerous to shout where God has whispered."
Amen, brother R.C. Amen.
I have to admit, I've been on the fighting, graceless end of these debates before. I've been the proud and haughty jerk who throws down the gauntlet on my brothers and sisters in Christ and chooses to divide over God's whispers rather than His shouts. The deity, person and work of Jesus Christ that alone remains my only hope? I'll divide over that. Salvation by faith and not by works? That's division-worthy. The Trinity? Yeah, we can't have brotherly Christian fellowship if you don't believe in Him.
But whether or not someone is an Arminian or Calvinist, believes churches should have traditional organ music or contemporary worship, believes differently about the nature of the millennium, likes the KJV or the ESV, etc...
I won't divide over those. Some will. And that's wrong. Just plain wrong.
A word of encouragement: Before you divide, ask yourself, "Would Christ divide over this? Is this central and absolutely essential to the Christian faith? And am I humble enough to admit I might be wrong?"
Question: What are some other things that you have seen become divisive issues in churches that have resulted in church splits or division between believers?